My 3 year old is throwing terrible tantrums when she doesn't get her way and when she gets frusterated. How can we help this behavior???


Jennifer - posted on 07/22/2012




Ignore as much as you can.

I also tell my daughter I can't understand her when she cries, whines, screams at me.

DON'T give in to her demands. That is a surefire way to get her to do it again and again and again.

If she is throwing a tantrum "in the way", try removing her to a pre-designated "safe spot" away from an audience and let her work it out. The less attention the better.

If she gets into what are termed "spillover tantrums" where she CAN'T regain control, try sitting next to her quietly. After she calms a little, offer a hug. These out-of-control tantrums are scary to little ones and it helps to know they have support. ("Raising Your Spirited Child" - awesome book)

DON'T try to talk her through them. It only escalates the situation. Wait until she is calm and has had a reassuring hug before a short discussion if she needs one ("Magic 1-2-3" - another good book).

Try introducing an alternative, more appropriate behavior. Model for her. For example - "Instead of throwing toys, we can say "I'm MAD" and stomp around".

Bathtime used to be an issue for us. One night, I got tired of it and made up an on-the-spot rap. It surprised her and we got through the bath. Now, it's a fun part of bathtime some nights.

"I don't WANT to take a bath! Don't wash my (nose)! I don't WANT to take a bath! Don't wash my (toes)! I don't WANT to take a bath, 'cause I!!!!"

We made up verses through the whole bath as we washed the body parts. Sometimes humor can diffuse the situation too.

Temper tantrums are normal at this age. Hang in there. They tell me it gets better. ;)

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